MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. (WOOD) — Family members are identifying a 14-year-old girl accidentally shot and killed by her 16-year-old brother in Muskegon Heights.
Kahmyah Robertson had just graduated from Timberland Academy and was getting ready for high school when she died Monday afternoon, according to her mother.
The Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office said Tuesday that Kahmyah’s 16-year-old brother is facing a preliminary charge of open murder in connection to the shooting. Prosecutor D.J. Hilson said his office is still under the impression that the incident was an accident. The serious charge isn’t meant to imply otherwise.
“Open murder puts all the options on the table,” Hilson told 24 Hour News 8. “Our standpoint is that we want to make sure that we’ve explored every single avenue that the police are exposing … before making a determination as to what level this homicide rises to.”
The mother of both teenagers spoke with 24 Hour News 8 after her son’s juvenile court hearing.
“No words, I can’t explain it. The only thing I can say is it was an accident and I forgive him, and I just want him to come home,” she said.
The shooting happened around 1:45 p.m. Monday at a home in the 2500 block of Elwood Street, north of E. Sherman Boulevard.
The call initially was dispatched out as a report of a child not breathing. Police initially said they believed that was an effort to mislead authorities.
Robertson wanted to clarify that confusion, saying she was the person who called 911 to report the shooting. She said she referred to her daughter as her “baby” and didn’t clearly articulate what was going on in the chaos of the moment.
Immediately upon arriving on scene, an officer told dispatchers the call involved a shooting.
Muskegon Heights Police Chief Joseph Thomas said the suspect was taken into custody and confessed to being involved in the shooting.
Kahmayah’s mother said relatives were still trying to figure out what happened, but they were sure of one thing already confirmed by police: It was an accident.
“They had a good relationship. They were always together. I don’t know,” Kahmyah’s mother said, fighting back tears.
“They were very close, so this is totally an accident. He’s grieving, the whole family is grieving,” said a relative, who also asked for privacy.
Loved ones say Kahmyah was a good person who loved children and would babysit everyone’s kids if she could. She was a good student who also loved lip gloss, according to family members.
“She was a good kid, she was a really good kid,” her mom said. “She just got cheated out of life, I feel like.”
The juvenile court must decide where the 16-year-old brother will stay for now. Until then, his mother has this message to him:
“That I love him and be strong and I just want him to come home,” she said.
“It wasn’t his fault, and no one blames him. We understand it was an accident and things happen,” another relative added.
Kahmyah’s mother also had this message for parents:
“Just wake up every day. Tell your kids you love them and just hold them tight because you might wake up one day and they might be gone,” she said tearfully. “So love your kids as hard as you can, let them know that you love them… let them know. Not just buying them clothes, taking care of them. You just really got to tell them you love them. You got to let them know that you love them because it might be too late.”
As for the Robertson family, relatives are turning to their faith for comfort.
“God had a plan. And that’s who we trust,” a relative said.
Police are still actively investigating the case. As of Tuesday afternoon, they had yet to recover the weapon used in the shooting. Robertson said a family member brought the gun to the home and that she didn’t know it was there. Police are looking for that individual to bring him in for questioning.
24 Hour News 8 is not releasing the 16-year-old shooter’s name because he is a juvenile and it’s unclear if he will be tried as an adult.